Looking for an easy way to use that bumper crop of tomatoes? This easy homemade tomato sauce is the perfect solution!
My parents and my lovely neighbors are very generous sharing their home-grown tomatoes with me. Recently I found myself with 21 beautiful tomatoes in my kitchen. It was a perfect time for an easy homemade tomato sauce to use all of them.
When I first looked for a tomato sauce recipe on the Internet, I was surprised by the wide variety I found. There were recipes for sauces that were ready in 15 minutes, and others that said to simmer the sauce for hours. Some recipes just called for tomatoes and olive oil, and others used lots of herbs and spices.
With that much variation in recipes, it appeared that I couldn’t go too wrong making a tomato sauce. I combined the advice I read online to determine my preferred method. I was happy to learn I could make an easy homemade tomato sauce that really tasted good! And if I can do it, anyone can!
Easy homemade tomato sauce recipe
With this general framework for tomato sauce, you can use as many tomatoes as you like and add ingredients to taste. You just need:
- Fresh, washed tomatoes.
- Olive oil (extra virgin olive oil is best for sauces).
- Your preferred herbs and spices – fresh or dried. For simplicity, I use the Pampered Chef Italian seasoning mix, but you can find other packaged mix varieties or easily make your own blend.
- Optional: honey. I like to add a small dollop of organic honey for a bit of sweetness.
- Heat a pot of water to boiling on the stove. This will be used to blanch the tomatoes prepare the tomatoes for peeling. The pot can be big enough for all of your tomatoes in one batch, or you can do more than one batch in a smaller pot.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water to cool the tomatoes.
- Cut an “X” mark into the bottom of each tomato.
- Place the tomatoes into the boiling water for about a minute, then use a slotted spoon to remove them and put them into the ice water to stop the cooking process and cool them.
- Cover the bottom of a saute pan or skillet with a light layer of olive oil. (A wide pan helps the sauce to cook faster, but you can also use a large saucepan.)
- Peel the tomatoes. After their dunk in the boiling water, the skins should pull off easily.
- Remove the core, seeds, and juice, cutting the tomatoes into chunks. (It’s OK to have some seeds remaining.)
- Place the prepared tomatoes into the saucepan.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Heat tomatoes to a boil, stirring.
- Reduce heat and simmer tomatoes, uncovered. Stir occasionally, and mash up larger chunks of tomato as needed.
- Add seasonings as desired near the end of the simmering time.
- The sauce is done when it reaches the right consistency. Simmering time can vary, based on the water content in the tomatoes. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until your sauce reduces the juices to the right consistency. This can be as little as 20 minutes, or as much as several hours. I’ve found about 2.5 to 3 hours is typical, but it has to do with the type of tomatoes used.
- Test it out and add salt, herbs, or spices to the sauce as desired.
I’ve seen some recipes that use canned tomato puree to help thicken the sauce, but I like to stick with just the fresh tomatoes. Using tomatoes straight from the garden, this easy homemade tomato sauce has a wonderful, light, fresh flavor!
Homemade tomato sauce can be kept in the refrigerator a few days or frozen in a freezer-safe container (leaving some space for expansion). This sauce just can’t be canned with a boiling water bath process for long-term storage.
Need more information? I liked this article on Serious Eats about homemade tomato sauce. It gives some really in-depth thought to the subject of the perfect tomato sauce.
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